Long periods of writing can produce a lot of aches and pains — in the back, the shoulders, the wrists. Considering how we sit and when we move can help to manage these problems and improve our productivity.
1 A good chair
Make sure your chair is comfortable. It should allow you to sit with hips aligned to knees, and feet flat on the floor. Use cushions to support your back if necessary, and maybe a DIY footrest. While you’re seated, tune in to your body regularly. Does it feel tense? Any aches? Adjust to counter any discomfort.
2 Position your screen
Place your screen directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away. Your head and neck should be upright when looking at it, ears aligned with shoulders. If you’re using a laptop, you may want to invest in a separate keyboard.
Movement is essential. The body isn’t comfortable with long sedentary periods nor with being held in a single posture. Shift about in your chair every now and again. Roll your shoulders. Turn your head. Move your hips. If you’re a leg-crosser, remind yourself to uncross. It’s easy to forget to walk about, so try setting an alarm every hour. Look out of the window when you’re up and about — distant focus is good for the eyes after close screen work.
Remember: writing is a physical process; your brain doesn’t work independently of your body. Moving about can help with problem solving as well as minimising aches and pains. Building in good postural habits and regular movement can facilitate your writing process.
31 March 2022
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